Millennials Among Top Supporters of Local Farmers
With stay-at-home orders being lifted and outdoor activities increasing, one of our favorite ways of doing business here on the farm is through our farmer's market and pop-up tent sales.
I love getting to meet our customers face-to-face and having real conversations about their needs, concerns, and why they are choosing local produce. We often talk about our growing practices and how important it is to engage our surrounding community in supporting local farmers to bolster our local food system and in turn help our local economy. (You can read one of our recent blog posts here about why buying local might actually be just as important as buying organic.)
Recently I've noticed a trend when conversing with our customers: Most of them are young (in their 20-30s) and have a strong focus on organic foods (moreso than the previous generation, in my personal experience). They tend to make more lists and are geared more towards meal prepping and planning than older generations. They fixate on limiting the harmful ingredients and products they put in their bodies and where their food comes from and how it is grown are also some of the factors that contribute to their decision to buy. A deep concern about sustainability and environmental health also drives their purchasing decisions. A recent study showed that 87% of millennials “believe that companies should address urgent social and environmental issues.” Not afraid of demanding what they want, more economically privileged millennials often take to spending more to buy better or less harmful products.
A 2017 study found millennial parents buy more organic food than any other cohort. Surveys have shown this generation (born between 1981 and 1996 – people aged 24 to 39 at the end of 2020) do indeed favor organic foods. Millennials also eat more fresh and frozen vegetables than other generations and a strong trend towards meatless and/or vegan lifestyles is on the rise. One recent study found 26% of millennials are either vegetarian or vegan, and 34% of meat-eating millennials eat at least four vegetarian dinners each week.
Millennials are the first generation to stare global climate issues in the face and consider them a real and imminent threat. Many believe the only answer to healing our environment and ensuring future generations can benefit from nutrient-dense produce is through interventions and education. One such intervention is The Real Food Challenge, began at the University of Southern California. Real Food is defined as food that truly nourishes everyone: producers, consumers, communities, and the earth. Students have often been at the forefront of social movements, and fighting for a better food system is no exception. The long term goal of The Real Food Challenge is a healthier and more transparent food system.
A local initiative, ICT Your Plate, has generated a movement that encourages and reminds consumers to eat and shop locally produced foods. Consumers and vendors alike are encouraged to show their support by posting to social media and using the hashtag #ICTYourPlate, bringing awareness and patrons to Wichita (and surrounding community) businesses.
Initiatives such as these are near and dear to our hearts here at Rommey Farms as we strive to educate the public on the importance of sustainability and a truly transparent food system.
Now more than ever, all consumers are questioning the quality of their products and have a focus on health that has been unprecedented in recent history. This concept of intentional buying and questioning the sustainability of our food system are discussions will hope will not end with the resolution of Covid-19.